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No defence of the indefensible: Ronny Deila's tactical nous in Warsaw hammering come under fire

EDINBURGH in August, the place which has made many careers.

Miroslav Radovic of Legia celebrates after scoringPhotograph: Getty
Miroslav Radovic of Legia celebrates after scoringPhotograph: Getty

It is where John Cleese got his big break and Ronny Deila will hope the city of Festival and Fringe is as kind to him on Wednesday night. The Celtic manager could have a very short run to match anything in Festival history if his side are eliminated from the Champions League at Murrayfield by Legia Warsaw. Deila is praying that his players can rescue the club's European ambitions with a second performance on their temporary 'home' in the capital.

The feelgood factor of Celtic's 4-0 victory over KR Reykjavik in the last qualifying round on a warm Edinburgh evening two weeks ago evaporated in the white-hot environment of Warsaw last Wednesday. The 4-1 defeat by the Polish champions placed Celtic's presence in the competition under real threat.

Deila requires a miraculous comeback from his side, otherwise the new manager will have an uncertain future. The man who replaced Neil Lennon, billed as the 'Norwegian Jurgen Klopp' in June, could suddenly transform into one of those rash holiday purchases that don't look as good once you bring them back home. Celtic cannot really walk into a shop as Cleese did in the celebrated Monty Python 'Dead Parrot Sketch' to complain about his 'Norwegian Blue.' Shopkeeper Michael Palin refused to accept that the parrot was dead and said "it's probably pining for the fjords," provoking Cleese into banging the dead bird off the counter to prove his point that it was not fit for purpose.

However, Deila's swift descent from the next bright young face of European coaching to someone whose errors of judgment in Warsaw could cost Celtic £20million in Champions League revenue, is of far greater interest than to just those in the east end of Glasgow. In Norway, there has been a huge response since last Wednesday to understand how Deila could have fallen so fast from his lofty perch.

The fact that Celtic's third qualifying round tie with Legia contained another Norwegian manager in the opposition dugout - Henning Berg - only added to the interest across the North Sea.

Deila's unswerving commitment to attack and the defensive fragility of his team, as Celtic came close to losing 6-1 if those two penalties had not been missed by Legia, saw Deila pilloried by the Norwegian media.

One respected journalist, Ola Bernhus of Aftenposten, said that Deila's open approach gave the feel that Celtic were playing in a friendly at Honefoss (in the Norwegian second tier) instead of a crucial Champions League qualifier that needed the Scots to shut up shop after the dismissal of Efe Ambrose.

Bernhus asked: "Have we sent out another coach who does not realise how big the world is?"

That, of course, is a reference to Berg who lasted just 57 days at Blackburn Rovers before the former Rangers defender resurfaced in Poland to take charge of Legia. Bernhus wrote: "They have had the attitude that they have travelled around the world fully confident that the Norwegian is good enough.

"Not just good enough, but the world has much to learn from us. It is fresh thinking, but unfortunately not well thought out. We who have followed Deila in Strømsgodset, know he has a lot to offer, but before Ronny Deila can dream about anything abroad, he must begin where a football game always starts. In defence."

Meanwhile, both managers have certainly gone on the defensive to prepare for Murrayfield. While Berg will rest his entire first-team for tonight's) Polish league match at home to Gornik, Deila also protected his players for Wednesday by sending a shadow squad with assistant John Collins to face Tottenham Hotspur in Helsinki yesterday while he worked on their shape at Lennoxtown.

If Celtic's 'Norwegian Green' can conjure up a Champions League resurrection against Legia, then all those European dreams might not be dead after all.

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